How to be a Birmingham BNOC

Reach the giddy heights of your ambition to be popular – or at least infamous


Ahh, the BNOC. (For the ignorant among you, this stands for “Big Name On Campus”.)

Much like the woman/man about town that everybody knew growing up, the kingpin at your school or the captains of the most popular sports teams, the term is used to denote the students who become ubiquitous – they’re everywhere on campus, at all the big events, know everyone, and have a presence larger than anybody’s bedroom.  There are two kinds of BNOC – those who achieve BNOC status, and those who have BNOC status thrust upon them.

These little microcosms of arrogance, each one after the next convinced that they are the centre of their own world and genuinely the biggest, funniest, most outrageous thing since sliced bread, are the closest thing you’re ever likely to have to celebrities on campus. Alternatively, and the much-preferred individual, some BNOCs actually ARE those things – or just one of those really friendly, awesome people that everybody wants to be friends with.

If your own hubris (read: overcompensation) demands that you simply MUST be a BNOC, here are some easy steps to achieving fame/infamy.  But be warned: we take no responsibility for any actions that you take, or their consequences, as a result of reading this article.

Be everywhere. And be really, really, really ridiculously good-looking

4 girls posing for camera

Being ridiculously good-looking

Obvs we can’t help you much with that second bit.

Whether by hook or by crook, for good reasons or bad, make sure you’re at all the biggest university events (and some smaller ones).  In Freshers, just go to everything, talk to everybody and don’t sleep – then once you’ve worked out where different people hangs out, make sure you’re going to enough events that each social group is refamiliarised with your face at least once a week.

Join societies

…But not too many, if you want people to actually respect you.  You can only commit to so many – go few, and go hard.  Sports, musical theatre and political societies will usually stand you in good ground for raising your profile, especially if you then become Social Sec.

Get loud/laid/political/drunk

(At your own risk) Do some outrageous shit that’ll get you noticed, and remembered.   And please, dear God please, tell us the stories afterwards – ideally with photographic evidence.

Ideas:  jumping naked into any kind of public water, climbing campus monuments and staging a sit-in, elaborate pranks that take days to set up, set up your own ridiculous club nights. Let your imagination run wild.

Have hair that’s ‘full of secrets

Its October 3rd aka #meangirlsday #sofetch #sobasic #hairsobigitsfullofsecrets #wishihadtwofendipursesandasilverlexus

A photo posted by Katy Horwich (@katyhorwich) on

I.e. Know everything (but to be honest if you didn’t spot the Mean Girls reference then you are beyond help) and everyone.

Know all about the mysterious last-minute club night tickets that nobody else can get hold of.  Know all the event organisers.  Be the person who is known to locate certain things from time to time.

Have a campus job

The trend when we started second year was to be a mephedrone dealer.  Obviously this was before it was made illegal in the UK, so – I dunno, just go work at the SU or something?

NOTE:  Any accidentally-achieved BNOC status ends here.  Proceed at your own risk.

Suck up to other BNOCs

Again, on your own head be it if you’re that desperate for celebrity.   But if it works, it could work out very nicely when they need someone to take up their mantle.

If you have enough dignity not to suck up, then perhaps identify, observe, and learn for your own benefit.

Run for office

Become part of the establishment by running for NUS president, student guild representative, sabbatical officer, or whatever the hell else is your university’s particular breed of bureaucracy.

Create a memorable campaign with a catchy slogan (most are desperate crap so anyone managing to avoid this has done well), have graphics, have flyers that stream like toilet paper all over campus, and talk utter bollocks to every society.  Have a signature policy, like free bananas for all (that one worked quite well for this guy).

If you have accurately followed Steps 1-7 above, you should now be a fully-fledged BNOC and recognisable face about town. Just try not to leave your head too far up your own ass – remember that in three years’ time (four if you’re desperate to hang about), nobody at your uni will be able to recall a single detail of your existence there.